Happy New Year! This title may be a little off since I am not one to set resolutions per say... but I had a new idea about incorporating habits in your life and making them stick. One of my best discoveries of 2020 was the Libby app that connects your library card to tons of free library content including audio books. A friend recommended The Little Book of Hygge. My mom has been into all things Northern Europe and hygge for a while but my official introduction to this was this book. For those who don't know, per the Cambridge Dictionary, hygge is "a Danish word for a quality of cosiness (=feeling warm, comfortable, and safe) that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, baking, or spending time at home with your family." The Danes consistently win the country that tops happiness per capita in the world. The author of the book is a leader from the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark and attributes the cultural inclusion of hygge in part for the wide spread happiness; In addition to all its population not having to suffer extreme unhappiness due to not having their basic needs met.
How does hygge help with creating healthy habits? I got to thinking about the time I needed to study for my exam to be licensed as a Clinical Social Worker. I am a procrastinator and need to work to make myself do anything that I don't enjoy, unlike my husband who has the self-control to do all kinds of healthy things. Every time I studied for that test I lit a candle I had just gotten as a gift and made myself some tea. That candle has been burnt out for some time, but that scent still reminds me of studying. I made the task special by including my senses and making it a cozy experience. Including other elements of hygge like social connection, nature, a special indulgence, mindfulness of the moment, and setting a cozy mood would be great for any number of habits. For example, including friends on an exercising goal for connection and making fun memories. If reading more books is your resolution, making a cozy corner and a buying a special reading tea would be very hygge. If the Danes are on to something this practice could also boost your happiness!
For years praying has been something I've struggled to make a habit in the way I would like. This weekend I decided to try and make prayer more hygge. I took some candles and went into our woods and sat quietly to pray and meditate. I am a person who needs lots of silence in my life but I rarely get it, especially since becoming a mom this year. This fifteen to twenty minutes of nature and quiet did me a lot of good. Though I may not do this every weekend I like the idea of making my prayer more mindful, sensory, and special. Why not make the things you struggle to do more enjoyable?
Do you have any habits you want to cultivate this new year?